Clallam County Commissioner Steve Tharinger today, Thursday, April 15, expressed surprise and regret at the retirement of Rep. Lynn Kessler, arguably the Olympic Peninsula’s most powerful state legislator.
Kessler, the House of Representative’s majority leader and 24th District representative for the past 18 years, announced Tuesday she will not run for a 10th term.
“Lynn Kessler is my friend and is surely one of the most outstanding public officials to serve our communities during all my years of work on the peninsula,” Tharinger said.
“I have come to know Lynn as a role model, a mentor and a leader. I wish her and her husband, Keith, a wonderful retirement.”
The county commissioner praised Kessler’s nearly two decades of service as a voice for the peninsula’s people.
“Senator Jim Hargrove and Representative Kevin Van de Wege are important to us as well,” he said, “but over the last 18 years, Lynn Kessler has been a powerful voice for our rural communities, our environmental concerns and our economic needs.”
Tharinger said he has been approached and encouraged by several political leaders at the state and local level to consider running for Kessler’s seat.
The county commissioner said that it’s a little early to make a decision.
“However,” Tharinger added, “we need to have continuity of representation. We cannot afford to lose the momentum that Lynn’s leadership has fostered in Olympia. Governing the state of Washington at this time of economic crisis requires competence and experience.
“If I decide to run it will be, in part, because I know Olympia and I know our district. I couldn’t fill Lynn’s place. No one can. But I could sure hit the ground running.”
Filing for Kessler’s seat and other state and local offices begins with mail-in filings on May 21. Candidates may file in person on June 7. Filings close June 11.
The district primary is Aug. 17 and the general election is Nov. 2.
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